Making The Case For Water

Making The Case For WaterBy Jacquie Eubanks BSN, RN

There is no question that oxygen, hydration and nutrition and are necessary to sustain life.  Water makes up 60% of your body weight, 70% of your brain,  90% of your lungs and an incredible 96% of your liver.   Essentially, water is the body’s principal chemical component.  All the major systems in the body depend on water to carry out normal functions.  The body uses water to:

  • Regulate body temperature
  • Lubricate joints, tissues, eyes and nasal passages
  • Dissolve minerals and nutrients
  • Aid the kidney and liver in flushing toxins and eliminating waste products
  • Carry nutrients and oxygen to the cells
  • Protect body organs and tissues
  • Properly digest foods
  • Aid in brain function
  • Naturally moisturize the skin
  • Help  maintain your weight

Water has the ability to dissolve more substances than any other liquid and enables your cells to use nutrients, minerals and chemicals.  Water is essential for kidney and brain function and proper digestion.  Water is the primary mode of transportation for all nutrients in the body and is necessary for good circulation. 

Water and salts  are lost each day through perspiration, respiration and elimination of wastes.  To keep the body functioning properly, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) recommends 9 – 13 cups of liquid be consumed daily.   Since the 1940’s, the medical community has recommended drinking eight 8 ounce glasses of water daily.  Today, that rule has been amended to include other beverages and foods that contain a high water content such salads, melons, berries, beans and soups.

Most adults typically consume 4 cups of liquid per day including soda, tea, coffee, juice and smoothies .  Although this is less than the IOM recommends, if it satisfies your thirst, your fluid level is likely adequate. Our brains trigger our sensitive thirst gauges when we are only 1% fluid deficient.   You are drinking enough fluids when you rarely feel thirsty, your urine is pale yellow and you are urinating every 2 – 3 hours.  Although drinking extra liquids doesn’t cause harm, your body does not allow it to accumulate.  Once you are adequately hydrated, the kidneys take over and excrete excess fluids.

To ensure that you are getting adequate amounts of water each day, The Mayo Clinic recommends that you drink a glass of water with each meal,  between each meal  and at regular intervals  before, during and after exercise. 

Dehydration can occur when the loss of body fluids exceeds the amount taken in and your body doesn’t have the fluids necessary to carry out normal functions.  Common causes of dehydration are illness, medications,  excessive perspiration and physical activity.  Severe dehydration requires emergency medical assistance.  Mild dehydration can be treated by drinking more fluids and replacing lost electrolytes and minerals.  Some products that can help replace micronutrients such as sodium, magnesium and  potassium are:

Water is essential for survival.  Without food, a person’s survival rate is approximately 30 days.  Without water, the survival rate drops to 5 – 7 days.  Some good reasons to reach for that glass of water include:

  • Water helps maintain a healthy balance of body fluids.
  • Water is naturally pH balanced.
  • Water is calorie free, readily available and inexpensive.
  • Water can help with weight control.
  • Water boosts your energy.
  • Water helps keep stress levels down.
  • Water nourishes the skin.

How much is enough? Whatever satisfies your thirst.  Remember to factor in exercise,  salty foods, health conditions and hot weather. Listen to your body and drink up for your own good health!

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